Hung up building your own platform?


So, who do you think you are? Who did you think you were?

When I first left the corporate blender I had a pretty hefty multimedia skill set. I got a first class education in the classroom and in the studio. I had ideas and strategies that absolutely horrified management back then. Wonder where they are now? I know and it ain’t pretty. If you’re not ready to shrivel up and die, either go get a hammer or else grab an oar, the emperor wants to go water skiing.

I knew I never wanted to retire. I also didn’t want to be a team member, a company, a corporation or a conglomerate. I wanted to be a solo entity, like the Lone Ranger, that created things and garnered attention, respect and helped people get on to a stage or platform that would get them noticed. But first, I needed my own platform from which to preach the gospel of me. I had to get my own attention first. Today, if you’re shy, you die.

Over the years I have found that not everyone has the stomach to grab the microphone and step out into the spotlight. They prefer to languish in the shadows and leave the blue chips on the table. That option is now fading.

It’s true. None of us can escape the fact there’s nowhere left to run and no one left to run with once you make the leap or get leaped. No big glass logo’d doors to open up wide and provide you shelter from the cold, cruel world. You have found, like I did, that what’s behind those doors is the cold, cruel world. Stay out long enough and you lose the false promise of career ever after.

If you can’t produce, you’ll be reduced. Get your politics wrong, you’re gone. They get you for a bargain and raise the bar until you disappear. Sometimes it’s called attrition, sometimes it’s called downsizing, but mostly it’s called “tuffsky shitsky” and the machine moves on. You’re a 60 year old Twinkie with the filling sucked out. An old time “used to be”. Every employee exists with that reality pressing on their temporal lobe.

Bitching about these organizations is not the intention of this piece. Lord knows, I’ve done enough of that. The fact is, whether your drawing a paycheck or not, you’re still going to have to, at some time, maybe in the near future, figure out just who the fuck you are and deal with it, commercialize it and monetize it. No getting around it.

But that’s not how you were trained. You get a job, settle in and hang on and go with the flow. The problem is, you were a “team player,” which really means you knew how to take orders and don’t stick your neck out.

Now, on to you and your need to build your platform, your stage from which you will attract the kind of attention that will put food on the table, wheels under your keister and keep you from the mercy of the ward attendant.

You need a voice. You need to write, podcast or use video to get your puss on someone’s computer screen. Whether they love you or not, at least you’ll be present. There is no other way. By writing or me-casting. Belly up or belly flop.

And I don’t mean liking and posting dopey pass-through  articles on Facebook or LinkedIn. Twitter is just going through the motions. Clock punching. It has to be you, original and uncut. Stomach flipping, straight from the gut. No one is going to come looking for you, trust me.

You have to build a platform. You need an Consider it your multimedia resume. It will take you out of your comfort zone (will it ever) and it will take practice, learning how to give and take a punch and stay in the ring.

If, as a solo act, you aren’t provocative, make people think and speak truth to power you will become the master of the meaningless digit. Even your relatives will overlook you.

We live in a noisy world. You need to highlight your unique skills and what you have to offer the world in a way that’s not offensive. Like any good conversationalist, you need to be a good listener, not a one way street.

This ain’t a multiple choice, it’s your survival, you’ve got to do it someday so it may as well be now. Over the years, I’ve been kicked in the ass so much I can spit shoe polish.

So who are you without your badge? Your parking space? Your 401K and your vaunted team status? Sometime before you shit the big bed you’ll have to ask yourself these questions in the bathroom mirror. You can’t bullshit that guy.

As I wrote in Cram and Scram, all gainful employment has an expiration date on it. And so do you. I don’t happen to believe in Jesus, Judgement or Jehova, but I do have a vested interest on how I spend my final days and it doesn’t include panhandling, penny pinching, prayer or penance.

I have all the tools I need to cut through the noise and I use them. Video, blogging, podcasting and e-strategy. I got forced into the corner and had to fight my way out.

It’s on me to get over the goal line with some semblance of self satisfaction and self respect. Hence, the need for a platform using all the tools available. You already have all the planks, I can help you build yours.

Someone once said “All the world’s a stage,” and if you have something to say— through a blog, a video or a podcast— you are on stage.

If you have something to say— whether one-on-one, before a huge crowd, or on the Internet— you are also on stage. But the stage has never been more crowded— and simply being on it doesn’t matter much if the lights are not shining on you, or if there is no one in the audience. We’re not used to highlighting our talents except for the occasional job interview or reaching for that internal promotion. Self promotion seems like bragging doesn’t it?

Get over it! I know executives and managers who can’t creatively veer off the script when the heat is on. They fold. Unsurprisingly, they’re not very flexible. Platform creation wasn’t part of their college education. Hopefully, it is now.

This post is all about attracting that audience and building a loyal audience who stays with you through every post, every permission based interruption and every update. It’s not about ego or being the center of attention. It is about having something of value to others and finding the most powerful way of getting that message to others who can benefit from it.

If you are someone who has something to say or sell—having a platform will help you reach and keep your intended and even unintended audiences.

There’s no room for stage fright or being overly self conscious these days. If you can’t put up, you’ll have to shut up, so stand up and speak up.

Strait jacket

If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to reach out to me here.

Bob O’Hearn

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Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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